Dubuque airport trains for major medical emergency

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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG TV9) -- The Dubuque Airport and local hospitals are working to identify exactly what they need to do if a plane makes an emergency stop for sick passengers.

On Tuesday, the airport held training for a medical emergency. During that raining scenario about 20 passengers on the plane all got physically sick at the same time. The plane had to make an emergency stop at the Dubuque Regional Airport. Emergency crews focused on how to best communicate with each other in order to help all those people at the same time.

The F.A.A. required training drill included airport staff, paramedics, fire fighters, and both Dubuque hospitals.
A couple dozen actors portrayed patients who were violently vomiting while aboard a plane parked along the runway. Emergency crews tested their communication skills by coordinating each patient with a responding paramedic.

Once on scene, each paramedic communicated with the two hospitals to explain each patient's condition as they rushed towards the hospital. Organizers say that's the part they most need to train for in any kind of emergency.

"A lot of what we seem to find out in all these emergencies is communication. What can we do better with communication? Because that's the key in any emergency. Get that plain English and let people know what's going on, the easier we can respond,” said Dubuque Airport Operations Manager Todd Dalsing.